Saturday 24 October 2020

A brisk wind shook the autumn leaves in Kensington Gardens.

Some of the trees are already bare. Starlings chattered on the branches beside the Serpentine.

The Great Tits have started to feel the cold, and a lot of them came out to be fed in the shrubbery at the southwest corner of the bridge.

A Jackdaw waited on a stone near the bridge, knowing I was going to give it a peanut.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull is getting a hard time from the Carrion Crows at the Dell resturant, which are becoming bolder and cheekier. He confronted one of them, which cheerfully waved a dead leaf at him.

Later he caught a Feral Pigeon. A crow even managed to grab his lunch from him, and then a gang arrived to feed on it.

But he can still successfully frighten them off, and the crows had to make do with crusts from the restaurant.

A Black-Headed Gull and a Magpie enjoyed a dogfight over the Long Water. It's a young gull, as you can see from the black tips to its tail feathers.

Another played with a leaf.

The female Peregrine was on the barracks tower.

Later she was joined by her mate, who as usual perched an unsocial distance away, screened from her by the concrete projection between them.

How differently a pair of pigeons behave.

A Grey Heron looked for fish on the small waterfall in the Dell.

Ian Young sent this picture of one of the young Great Crested Grebes, which had flown up to the Round Pond and was looking for small creatures along the edge. There was an adult grebe here last Monday, which must have shown the young one the way to the pond.

The strange trio of a Red-Crested Pochard drake, his Mallard mate, and a Mallard drake hanger-on is now almost a permanent feature of the Italian Garden. Ducks often form trios as there is usually a surplus of males, but only one drake is the mate and the other is subordinate.

There are clumps of red berries in the scrubby patch at the east end of the Serpentine. Conehead 54 tells me that the plant is the Stinking Iris, Iris foetidissima. It sounds even smellier in Latin.

Some very large Shaggy Parasol mushrooms are growing at the northwest corner of the bridge.

This mushroom was in the grass a few yards to the north. Field Blewits grow here, but this isn't one, as it has a fairly slim smooth pale brown stem. The cap is about 4 inches across. I don't know what it is.

Update: But of course Mario does. It's a Stubble Rosegill, as last seen on the wood chips under the plane trees near the Physical Energy statue.


  1. The Black Swan was hanging round the Vista. However a juvenile Mute Swan belonging to the dominant pair chased it off a few times. Then its father pursued the poor Black Swan down the lake and it had to take to the air to escape

    1. It was at the Diana landing stage when I saw it, trying to make friends with a teenage Mute Swan. Poor creature, it is not a happy bunny.

    2. Could that explain why I came across it waddling along the cycle track on the bridge, slowly and painfully making its way, guided solicitously by several people, down through the car park and then into the water. This was around 5 pm. Those legs must have been really hurting by the end because it walked through the feeding hordes straight into the water taking no interest in the morsels on offer. It was striking that it kept its long neck stiffly upright all along the way only relaxing it when it was near the water.

    3. That must be the explanation. But who can say why it didn't keep flying until it was in a safe place?

  2. I think the poor Black Swan may be better off at Saint James'. Could the Swan Sanctuary be consulted about it?

    Crows are the real masters of the place. Brains over brawns, every time.

  3. Love your video of the wind in the trees-some lovely colours there.

    I'm afraid the fruits shown aren't Lords & Ladies but those of Iris foetidissima, the Stinking Iris, a UK native but also frequently an escape from cultivation. The flowers are not showy so are often overlooked & from an aesthetic point of view its fruits are the redeeming feature. Very good at seeding around- I have some in my garden. The Lords & Ladies (Wild Arum/Cuckoo Pint) has a more columnar fruiting body though the fruits are a similar colour.

    1. Thank you. I was wondering about that plant, it didn't look quite right. Foetidissima, splendid word. Will change the blog.

  4. The mushroom is your old friend the Stubble Rosegill (Volvariella gloiocephala, now Volvopluteus gloiocephalus)

    1. Many thanks. I should have prodded it to see if it was sticky.